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Planning A Milestone Birthday Or Anniversary Party? How Can You Best Feed Your Guests?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Planning A Milestone Birthday Or Anniversary Party? How Can You Best Feed Your Guests?

If you’ve recently taken on the responsibility of planning a golden anniversary party, milestone birthday, or other large-scale event to celebrate a special loved one (or couple) in your life, you may be equal parts excited and nervous about pulling off an event to be remembered. After renting out a reception hall for the festivities and beginning to draft the guest list, your next step (and often the most time-consuming one) will be arranging food and drinks. Read on to learn more about the most sanity-saving ways to provide dinner and dessert for a large crowd in the mood for celebration. What food service options will save you the most time and trouble? Depending upon the venue you’ve chosen for your party, catering, through a company like Silicon Valley Corporate Catering and Event Management, may be the most seamless option. Many reception and party venues employ their own chefs and catering staff, and can bundle the cost of these services (including gratuities) into the price you pay for the rental. Going with the in-house catering staff can often be among the costliest options, but the convenience provided can be crucial if you’re putting this party together at the last minute or planning it without an extra few set of hands. Outside catering may also be a good choice, especially if your venue doesn’t provide its own food. Depending upon whether you choose a full sit-down meal or chilled hors d’oeuvres, you may need to provide a small setup area for the caterers so that they can prepare or warm the food before the event, then refill empty trays with fresh food while the party is taking place.    Another option is a potluck-style gathering, where each guest brings his or her own signature dish. This arrangement is nearly ideal for the busy host or hostess, as it takes away the burden of providing (or paying for) the food, but can cause some hiccups if not properly planned. You’ll want to divide your guest list into several categories (like appetizers, main course, and dessert) so that you don’t wind up with half a dozen different types of cupcakes and no side dishes. Potlucks may be seen as too casual for certain venues (or celebratory events), so you’ll want to keep the overall theme or tone of the party in mind when choosing this option – if you’re requesting guests wear their finest black tie or cocktail apparel, serving them crockpot baked beans or your aunt’s famous mac-and-cheese casserole upon arrival may interfere with the atmosphere you’re hoping to cultivate.  How can you keep your party’s food costs down? Even if others are chipping in on expenses to take some of the burden from you, it’s still important to be cost-conscious when planning your party’s menu – the more money you save on food and drinks, the more you’ll have to spend on décor, music, and other mood enhancers.  If you do choose to go with a catered meal rather than a pitch-in or potluck, you may be able to significantly reduce your costs by choosing a selection of tapas or small bites rather than a full meal. By mixing and matching the food and selecting only what people will want to eat, your guests will feel fuller on less, and you’ll...

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5 Successful Ways to Have a Valentine’s Date at a Sports Bar

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Successful Ways to Have a Valentine’s Date at a Sports Bar

When choosing a restaurant for a Valentine’s Date, a sports bar may not seem like the most ideal choice, but many guys prefer the atmosphere and setting of a traditional restaurant. Instead of complaining or getting the date off to a bad start, you can transform the experience with a variety of tweaks and tips. Not only will this help please the man in your life, but it can lead to new traditions as a couple. Before choosing the best bar and grill in town, use the following five tips for a fun time celebrating Valentine’s Day. Booth Dining The privacy and close quarters of a booth is an obvious choice for many couples on Valentine’s Day dates, but there are ways to make the experience more intimate and fulfilling. One of the biggest distractions in a sports bar is the television. Instead of fighting for eye contact on the other side of the booth, choose to sit on the same side as your date. This way, you are sitting closer together and you can both watch the same television. This allows you to talk and communicate about the events that are on the TV without having to crank your neck or sit awkwardly. Replace the eye contact with gentle touches, holding hands, or wrapping your arms around each other until the food arrives. Sitting on the same side also gives you more leg room to stretch and relax. Shared Appetizers A sports bar is known for a great selection of appetizers and meals like fries and chicken wings. Instead of ordering separate meals, sharing a delicious appetizer is a great way to connect and bond over food. Not only does this increase the connection between you and your date, but you can sneak in some extra hand touches while reaching for the food. When ordering the appetizer, request two small plates so you can split it up and have something to eat over. By sharing an appetizer, you also don’t have to worry about getting too messy. For example, when you both share a plate of buffalo chicken tenders, you will both make a mess with the sauce. Just have fun with it and even take things a step further by taking “messy face” selfies together. Quieter Times A Valentine’s Day lunch doesn’t seem as romantic as a dinner, but you can find plenty of quiet times to enjoy a meal in a sports bar. Try eating out for an early dinner. This is anywhere between four and six in the afternoon and early evening. It is likely before any big sports games and will offer a toned down atmosphere. As an alternative, you can also choose to have a Valentine’s Day meal. Head to the sports bar after nine so the crowds have died down a little and you can still have your romantic night out. It’s also a good idea to check out daily sports schedules. This will help you determine how crowded the bar and grill will be during specific times. Along with national teams, it’s also important to consider local college and high school sports that may be airing on television. The Girl’s Choice When giving a man the privilege of enjoying Valentine’s Day dinner at his favorite sports bar, you have a little...

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Two Italian Restaurant-Style Red Sauce Recipes To Make At Home

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Italian Restaurant-Style Red Sauce Recipes To Make At Home

If you want to enjoy authentic-tasting Italian dishes at home, then one of the most important things you’ll need to learn how to make is a good red sauce. Sauce out of a jar just won’t cut it! Luckily, it is not too difficult to make restaurant-style Italian red sauce, as long as you have the right ingredients and a little patience. Here are two recipes that will give you a good start. One simmers away for hours, yielding the most authentic flavors, and the other is a quicker version that still comes out tasting amazing. Half-Day Red Sauce Ingredients: 20 – 25 large, red tomatoes (San Marzano, Roma or a similar variety) 1 medium white onion, minced 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon white sugar 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup water Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Drop the tomatoes, a couple at a time, into the water. Let them simmer for 30 seconds, and then remove them using a wire mesh strainer. Repeat this process until all of the tomatoes have been heated for 30 seconds. Let them cool until you can touch them safely, and then use your hands to peel off the skins. They should slide off easily. Slice each of the tomatoes in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then, set the tomatoes aside. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Then, add the minced onion and saute until tender. Add the garlic, and saute for an additional 2 – 3 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, vinegar and water to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer for approximately 3 hours with the lid off. If it appears to be getting too thick, add a little more water. Once the sauce has simmered for 3 hours, remove it from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree it into a smooth consistency. Then, stir in the basil and oregano. Return the sauce to a simmer, and simmer for another 30 minutes before serving. Any sauce you do not use can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 6 months. Quick Red Sauce Ingredients: 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes 1/4 cup onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon white sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons fresh basil 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the onion, and saute until tender. Add the garlic, and saute for another 2 minutes. Drain about half of the liquid from the tomatoes (and discard it), and leave the other half with them. Use your hands or a potato masher to mash the tomatoes. Try to work most of them into small chunks, but leave a few larger chunks, too. Add the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, sugar and salt to the skillet. If you like spicy sauce, feel free to add additional cayenne pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer...

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Four Simple Cooked Oyster Recipes For Your Oyster Bar

Posted by on Oct 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Simple Cooked Oyster Recipes For Your Oyster Bar

When it comes to eating oysters, there are customers who prefer the classics: raw oysters, steamed oysters, and perhaps some oysters Rockefeller. There are other customers, however, who would rather expand their pallets and try something new. If you’re setting up an oyster bar like Flora-Bama, it’s important to serve the classics along with a few new, creative recipes so you satisfy both types of customers. Here are a few simple yet unique oyster recipes to try. Triple Citrus Oysters Citrus and seafood pairs together well, but this recipe takes this combination to the next level. It’s best if you use freshly squeezed juices, but if you can’t obtain them, bottled juices are okay. Ingredients: 30 oysters, shucked and placed on the half shell 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Stir together the lemon, orange, and grapefruit juices. Spread the oysters out on a baking sheet. Drizzle them evenly with the citrus juices, and then sprinkle them with the black pepper. Place them in the broiler, about 4 inches from the heat, and broil for 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Steakhouse Oysters Worcestershire sauce and blue cheese give these oysters a steakhouse flavor that guests are sure to love. Ingredients: 30 oysters, shucked and placed on the half shell 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons white vinegar 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese Combine the Worcestershire sauce, oil, vinegar, garlic and salt. Place the oysters on a baking sheet, and drizzle them with this mixture. Then, divide the blue cheese between the oysters. Place them in a 375 F oven, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the oysters have become opaque and the blue cheese has started to melt. Sweet Balsamic Oysters Balsamic vinegar and oysters sounds like an unlikely combination, but wait until you try this recipe. The tart, yet sweet vinegar sauce really livens up the flavor of the oysters. Ingredients: 30 oysters, shucked and placed on the half shell 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons strawberry jam Combine the vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and jam. Whisk well to combine. Lay the oysters out on a baking sheet. Drizzle each one with a little of the sauce. Be careful not to spill the sauce outside of the oyster shells as the sauce will scorch on the bottom of the pan. Place the oysters in a 375 F oven, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until they are opaque. Cheese and Onion Oysters Cheese lovers will be delighted with these three-cheese oysters. A hint of onion adds some texture and a second layer of flavor. Ingredients: 30 oysters, shucked and placed on the half shell 1/2 cup white onion, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 cup Gouda cheese, shredded 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded 1 teaspoon paprika Lay the oysters out on a baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil. Top each one with a little of the onion, followed by some of each of the three cheeses. Place the oysters in a 375 F oven, and bake for 12...

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Pump Up Your Pizza’s Nutritional Value Using Nutrient-Rich Toppings

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pump Up Your Pizza’s Nutritional Value Using Nutrient-Rich Toppings

Even though you are trying to eat healthier, you may still have times when you do not have time to cook or just crave a mouth-watering pizza. However, just because you order pizza online for delivery does not mean it can’t be healthy. When selecting your toppings, pump up your pizza’s nutritional value by using one or more of the following nutrient-rich choices. Select Spinach For A Super Topping If you want to beef up your pizza’s protein without adding cholesterol-containing meats, choose spinach as a healthy alternative. Not only does it contain protein without the fat, it is also packed with natural sources of iron and calcium. It also provides one of the best dietary sources of potassium, with almost 300 milligrams more than a banana provides per cup. When selecting spinach, you may worry about your family balking at its addition, thinking it will not go well on a pizza. However, when cooked, it has a mild flavor that is often masked by the sauce and cheese, making its presence virtually undetectable. Add Pizzazz To Your Pizza With Pineapple Add some sweet pizzazz to your pizza while packing it with vitamin C by selecting pineapple as one of your toppings. One cup of this tropical fruit contains 131 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C that is crucial for boosting your immune system. It also contains 2.3 grams of fiber, providing you with 9 percent of what you need each day. Although you may have heard of people topping their pizzas with pineapple, the idea of adding fruit to your pie may be foreign to you. However, the sweet flavor complements other toppings, especially when paired with a low-fat pork option, such as Canadian bacon. Amp Up Your Vitamins With Mushrooms If you want a topping that amps up the vitamin and mineral content on your pizza, make mushrooms a part of your pie. Mushrooms provide a myriad of nutrients, such as vitamin D, phosphorus, iron and riboflavin. They give you this myriad of nutrition while containing only 20 calories and no fat. While selecting mushrooms for your pizza, look to see what types are available when ordering online. Or, call to find out the variety. If possible, select portobello or baby Bella mushrooms. When cooked, their flavor and texture resemble meat, helping to satisfy your cravings for the meat while giving you a healthier alternative. Top Off Your Pizza With Sliced Tomatoes Top off your pizza with a topping of sliced tomatoes. Tomatoes provide a power punch of nutrition, containing vitamin C, vitamin E, and all of the carotenoids, including lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off free radicals that could cause cancer. Tomatoes are also packed with potassium, providing over 400 milligrams in one serving.  Although red pizza sauce contains tomatoes, you can increase their nutritional offering by requesting sliced tomatoes as a topping. Not only does this up their benefits, but they also add a tangy flavor to your pizza because the taste has not been diluted by other ingredients in the sauce. A topping of sliced tomatoes also provides the peels not provided by the sauce. The peels are where most of the vitamins and minerals are concentrated, giving you an extra boost of nutrition when they are...

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